Bible Reading: 1 Kings 3:5-10
Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. 1 Kings 3:9
HOW WOULD YOU define wisdom?
One fifth grader defined wisdom as “being smarter than anybody else.”
Another said that wisdom was something only “grandparents and old people have.”
Still another said that wisdom was “knowing enough not to do stupid stuff.”
And another called it “a little voice inside your head that tells you what to do when nobody else knows what to do.”
Not bad, but what do you think wisdom is? Is it knowing more than anybody else? Is it the ability to avoid “stupid stuff? Or is it something else?
King Solomon, who became famous in his time as a wise man, gives us a clue in the Bible. The third chapter of 1 Kings (in the Old Testament) tells the story of how God appeared to Solomon in a dream when Solomon became king. God asked him, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
Now, if God made that offer to us, most of us would say, “A million dollars!” or “My own computer!” or something like that. But not Solomon. He said, “Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9).
Solomon’s words show that a major part of wisdom is the ability to “know the difference between right and wrong.” You may be well educated. You may be the top student in your class—maybe in your school. You may win thousands of dollars on Jeopardy! But if you want to be wise, you will seek “an understanding mind so that [you can] know the difference between right and wrong.”
No matter what else you may know, if you don’t know right from wrong, you’re not wise.
REFLECT: Based on Solomon’s words in 1 Kings 3:9, from where (or from whom) does true wisdom come? Do you think a person has to be old to be wise? Do you think a person has to be educated to be wise? How does a person become wise? How can you increase in wisdom?
PRAY: The Bible says, “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you” (James 1:5). Spend a few moments in prayer, asking God for wisdom in specific areas of your life. You may want to start by praying the words that Solomon used in 1 Kings 3:9 when he asked God for wisdom: “Give me an understanding mind so that I can … know the difference between right and wrong.”